LA Wandering


Los Angeles Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers Handling Wandering and Elopement

Strong advocates for seniors who suffer nursing home abuse and neglect in California

Nursing homes are large complexes often with many entrances and exits, numerous hallways, and large outdoor grounds. Residents should be encouraged to use the facilities, including participating in social events, seeing visitors, and getting some exercise. Nursing homes in Los Angles need to ensure that seniors know where they should be and where they can go, and should prevent seniors from wandering off into an area that may be unsafe. Residents should never leave the facility altogether (elope) without supervision.

Controlling the whereabouts of seniors is especially critical for residents who have cognitive or physical impairments – which many residents do. At Garcia & Artigliere in California, our nursing home abuse and neglect lawyers have more than 150 years of combined experience fighting for the residents of nursing homes.

Our Los Angeles nursing home wandering and elopement lawyers are skilled at showing how a resident was able to wander off or elope and what steps should have been taken to prevent any harm that occurred. We’re also skilled at showing just how traumatic a senior’s injuries are, the diagnosis of the injury, and the type of medical and emotional care that is required to help the senior. If a loved one died, such as by being killed while in the parking lot, we file wrongful death damages on behalf of families.


What causes nursing home residents to wander or elope in Los Angeles?

The most common reasons why nursing home residents wander off or elope are due to dementia, Alzheimer’s, and other cognitive impairments. According to US News, about 49 percent of nursing home residents have some form of dementia. Residents with dementia may wander off or leave/elope from the premises altogether:

  • To find a loved one
  • To follow a visitor or someone of interest
  • Because they become disoriented
  • Because they think the path they’re taking leads to food, drink, bathroom facilities, or other life necessities
  • Curiosity
  • They can’t find their room
  • Other reasons related to their memory loss and cognitive decline

Los Angeles nursing home residents may wander or elope due to sedatives or other medications.

The American Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease and Other Dementias publication states that nearly three in five residents with Alzheimer’s will wander away from a nursing facility at least once. Sadly, many residents who wander or elope do not survive.

Why are wandering and elopement so dangerous for Los Angeles nursing home residents?

Los Angeles nursing home residents who wander or leave the grounds unsupervised are at risk of physical harm in a variety of ways:

  • Falls. A major risk for seniors who wander or elope is that they are likely to fall. Falls can cause fractures, head trauma, and other serious injuries.
  • Assaults. Residents who end up in another part of the home risk being attacked by another resident who might attack out of fear of someone they don’t know.
  • Exposure to bad climate. Residents who wander outside may be exposed to heat stroke, hypothermia, and dehydration. These exposures can cause colds, the flu, stroke and other heart disorders, and other injuries.

Wandering and elopement can alter a senior’s medication cycle if the Los Angeles resident is not in his/her room or a specific location to take their medications. Just missing one dose of heart medications, insulin, or other drugs that can shorten lives and cause severe harm.

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How should Los Angeles nursing homes protect their residents from wandering and elopement?

Nursing homes should prepare individual care plans with the help of family members to quickly respond if a loved one wanders off or elopes. Family photos help identify the resident. Advance plans can indicate the priority places where the nursing home staff and others should look – such as rooftops, bodies of water, and roadways.

Resident-specific plans should include which relatives, doctors, and management officials should be contacted and the law enforcement personnel in Los Angeles who are skilled at looking for people who are missing or lost. The police may use specific systems such as the Silver Alert System to help find seniors who have wandered or eloped.

Some of the proactive steps Los Angeles nursing homes should take include the following. The failure to implement and follow these steps may be grounds for elder abuse and neglect liability.

  • Enclose the Los Angeles nursing homes with fences, landscaping, and controls over the exits to keep the residents on the premises.
  • Understand which seniors are most likely to wander or elope due to their cognitive impairments or other reasons.
  • Have staff members physically guide seniors at risk of wandering or elopement to dining rooms, bathrooms, activity rooms, and other parts of the premises.
  • Install videos, cameras, and other systems that help show where a resident might have wandered to.
  • Employ security personnel at unlocked entrances and exits
  • Train the staff about how to communicate with either about the most likely places to look for residents who have wandered off or left the premises.
  • Create and monitor individual care plans for seniors most at risk for wandering or elopement.
  • Ensure that each senior is socially engaged.
  • Install locks on the windows and doors.
  • Have policies and procedures at night for seniors who can easily become disoriented due to the darkness and lack of other visible people.

Residents generally should not be physically restrained to keep a resident in a known place. Restraints can be traumatic. There are better methods.

How do you fight for residents and families when wandering or elopement causes harm?

At Garcia & Artigliere, our Los Angeles nursing home lawyers have been fighting for the safety and security of seniors for 30 years. We understand how traumatic it is for family members to be notified by a nursing home or the police that their loved one is missing, was hurt, or died while wandering on the premises or while they were away from the premises.

Our team is skilled at showing what safety standards should have been in place, what standards were breached, and how these failures led to the senior’s injuries or death. We also question everyone involved with the administration of the nursing home and everyone who had responsibility for the senior to show how the wandering or elopement occurred.

We demand full compensation for a Los Angeles nursing home residents’ medical expenses, physical pain, emotional suffering, loss of life’s pleasures, and any disfigurement.

If a parent or another loved one died, we file a wrongful death claim on behalf of the family. Wrongful death damages in California generally include the funeral and burial costs, the loss of guidance and comfort the senior would have provided, and other personal or financial damages suffered by the family members. The claim may also include compensation for any pain and suffering your loved one suffered before he/she passed away.

Do you have a nursing home wandering and abandonment lawyer near me?

Garcia & Artigliere represents Los Angeles nursing home residents and the families of residents who are harmed or died due to wandering or elopement. Our elder abuse and neglect lawyer will answer all your questions, explain everyone’s rights, and guide you through this upsetting time.

Speak with our California nursing home wandering and elopement lawyers today

As more and more Los Angeles residents need to use nursing homes due to dementia, physical ailments, and increases in the overall senior population: nursing homes need to plan for every reasonable risk – including the wandering and elopement of their residents. Most injuries and deaths due to elder abuse and neglect are preventable with proper planning. If your loved one was hurt or killed due while on or off the premises, our Los Angeles nursing home wandering and elopement attorneys are ready to help.

Please call Garcia & Artigliere or contact us now to schedule a free case evaluation. We maintain additional offices in Long Beach, Louisville, New Orleans and Phoenix. We represent clients across the United States. Our attorneys only receive payment if your claim settles or there is a verdict in your favor.

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Additional services for victims of nursing home abuse in Los Angeles